GOP CONTINUES BASELESS IRS ATTACK DESPITE NO EVIDENCE OF POLITICAL MOTIVATION

Jul 31, 2013

Without any jobs agenda or effort to reach a budget agreement to replace the sequester, House Republicans are spending all of today on a set of politically-motivated message bills. The irony, of course, is that House Republicans continue to accuse the IRS of political motivation in their screening of tax exemption applications despite all of the evidence collected so far showing that there was no political motivation.

  • EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION OF IRS EMPLOYEE EMAILS SHOWS NO EVIDENCE OF POLITICAL MOTIVATION: The Treasury Inspector General’s Office of Investigations reviewed 5,500 employee emails and concluded“There was no indication that pulling these selected applications was politically motivated.  The e-mail traffic indicated there were unclear processing directions and the group wanted to make sure they had guidance on processing the applications so they pulled them.”
  • IRS INTERVIEWS REVEAL NO EVIDENCE OF POLITICAL MOTIVATION: Staff from the House Ways and Means and Government Oversight Committees have interviewed 17 IRS employees directly involved in this matter under oath and none of these employees have suggested that the IRS actions were either politically motivated or the result of influence by any individual or organization outside of the IRS.
  • THE INSPECTOR GENERAL TESTIFIES THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF POLITICAL MOTIVATION: Treasury Inspector General Russell George has testified repeatedly during the last two-plus months that in their year-long audit they found no evidence of political motivation by IRS employees.

Ways and Means Committee Hearing May 17, 2013

REP. SANDER LEVIN: Did you find any evidence of political motivation in the selection of the tax exemption applications?

INSPECTOR GENERAL RUSSELL GEORGE: We did not, sir.

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REP. JIM McDERMOTT: The inspector general report says that no one acted out of malice or political motivation. Mr. George, I want to know, do you still stand by that?

GEORGE: We have no evidence at this time to contradict that assertion, sir.

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REP. XAVIER BECERRA: Now let me also focus on something, Mr. George, you said. When you were asked was there any finding or evidence of political motivation here, you said no.

GEORGE: That is correct, sir.

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Oversight and Government Reform Hearing July 18, 2013

Responding to a question from Rep. Tim Walberg:

GEORGE: Yes, Congressman, thank you for helping me once again to clarify both in the opening statement that I issued today, both in terms of the audit report that we issued and in previous testimonies before a variety of a number of committees both in the House and Senate. I made it patently clear, but we had not found such motivation -- political motivation.

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REP. JOHN TIERNEY: Not because they wanted to stall (inaudible) to the application. There was no indication that pulling these selected applications was politically motivated.

GEORGE: Yeah.

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REP. DANNY DAVIS: Mr. George, there's been a great deal of discussion about whether you found any White House involvement or political motivation in your investigation, in your report. And I believe the statements on page 9 of your written testimony made clear that you found nothing of the kind. No documents, no witnesses, nothing. Is that correct?

GEORGE: That is correct as of the time of that audit, Sir.

DAVIS: So as of this moment, nothing has been found that would suggest any kind of political motivation or involvement coming from the White House?

GEORGE: That is correct, Sir, nothing as of now.

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REP. TONY CARDENAS: Mr. George, there has been a lot of discussion today about whether you found any White House involvement or political motivation in your report. I believe the statement on page 9 of your written testimony made clear that you found nothing of the kind. No documents, no witnesses, nothing. Is that right?

GEORGE: That is correct.

CARDENAS: OK. So given your clear statement, I'd like to ask you about a number of statements our Republican colleagues have made especially since they are presumably based on your report, and I want to ask you whether you have identified any evidence to support their claims.

First, on May 14, 2013, Chairman Issa went on a national television and said this, and I quote, "This was the targeting of the president's political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn't

discovered until afterwards." So my question is, during the course of your audit, have you identified any evidence or whatsoever that the IRS was targeting the president's political enemies?

GEORGE: While we don't have the access to the information that the Committee may have, our audit, and again, (inaudible) it needs to be stressed it was an audit. It was nothing beyond that. Although now there is an ongoing review, but our audit did not find anything.

CARDENAS: So, so far in the activities that you've been engaged and you haven't found any evidence?

GEORGE: That is correct.

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Senate Finance Committee Hearing May 21, 2013

SEN. MIKE CRAPO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You know, there's been a lot of discussion about who knew what and when they knew it. And, one of the big questions I have -- this is probably for you, Mr. George -- is it seems that there is an argument being made that there was no political motivation in these actions.

Is that a conclusion that you have reached?

GEORGE: In the review that we conducted thus far, Senator, that is the conclusion that we've reached.

CRAPO: And how do you reach that kind of a conclusion?

GEORGE: In this instance, it was as a result of the interviews that were conducted of the people who were most directly involved in the overall matter.

And so you take it one step by another and we directly inquired as to whether or not there was direction from people in Washington beyond those who were directly related to the determinations unit. And their indications to us -- now I have to note this was not done under oath, this was again an audit and not an investigation -- but they did indicate to us they did not receive direction from people beyond the IRS.

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